At the end of a race, F1 drivers stand on a scale to get their weight number by a race official. They get their weight number after a race to understand how much weight they lost during a race. After all, drivers sweat profusely during races, which means they lose weight during the two-hour race. After the race, the team and their driver work on a plan to put the right amount of weight back on them.
So, why do F1 teams care about the weight of a driver before and after a race? How much do Formula One drivers tend to weigh? How do F1 teams respond to weight loss after a race for the driver?
Here’s an overview of why F1 teams closely monitor the weight of their drivers, especially after a race.
Why do F1 Teams Care about the Weight of a Driver?
These days, the primary reason that Formula 1 teams weigh their drivers after races is to monitor moisture loss due to sweat throughout a race. During a hot race, drivers can lose several kilos of weight due to sweat.
Monitoring weight loss is essential because drivers can get dizzy or lose control of their fine motor functions, which are necessary for high-speed racing. Weigh-ins before and after a race allow F1 teams to see how much liquid a driver lost so that they can improve their hydration and cooling strategy ahead of a hot-weather race to improve race outcomes.
The FIA and Driver Weight
The FIA instituted rules on how much a driver weighs when racing due to driver safety. Early in F1, teams began hiring lighter and lighter race car drivers. They also encouraged drivers to lose dangerous amounts of body fat, which could harm a driver’s health. While drivers are still slim, the minimum weights required by the FIA help ensure that they’re driving safely, with enough muscle mass to direct the car and withstand the g-forces that come from heavy braking zones and tight turns.
Weight limits instituted by the FIA aim to even the playing field between F1 teams. The FIA mandates that a car’s and driver’s weight must be a minimum of 798 kilograms. This weight excludes the 110 kilograms of fuel cars are allowed to have on board but does include the weight of dry-weather tyres.
The regulations further stipulate that 80 kilograms of weight in an F1 car must come from the driver. If the driver weighs less than 80 kilograms or 176.36 pounds, the team is responsible for loading ballast into the cockpit to achieve the 80-kilogram requirement. This 80-kilogram requirement often benefits teams, as they can put weight where they choose in the cockpit, ultimately impacting how the vehicle handles a race.
How Much do Formula One Drivers Weigh?
Since the FIA states how much a racer’s weight should contribute to a car’s minimum weight, it’s not unreasonable to think that most drivers weigh around 80 kilograms. That’s the case, with most drivers weighing in between 74-82 kilograms.
While the sport generally incentivizes drivers to be fitter and lighter, there are many benefits to drivers running a little heavier before a race. Namely, extra body weight can prevent the car’s weight from being too light at the end of a race, which could incur a penalty from the FIA.
What Impacts the Weight of an F1 Driver?
The number one factor that impacts the weight of a driver is water loss during hot races. Motorsports drivers also lose moisture due to over-hydrating and urinating during a race, which they generally do in their race suit. Drivers can lose over eight pounds (four kilograms) of water weight alone during a race, especially during hot races.
Many drivers like Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas use strategies like ice baths to limit how much they sweat during a race.
Do F1 Drivers Train to Maintain Their Strength and Stamina?
During an F1 season, drivers often train extensively to maintain the strength and stamina needed to complete an exhausting series of races. These intense training regimens can cause even the lightest drivers to trim body fat or build muscle. Their bodies change during the season, so their engineers may need to adjust to keep the car up to weight specifications.
That means ballast might be added or removed at different times during the season due to the weight of a driver, showing just how much attention teams pay to their driver’s physiology.
How do F1 Teams Respond if a Driver Loses too much Weight?
One of the most significant concerns about a driver losing too much weight over a race is dehydration’s damaging impact. If a driver gets too dehydrated and loses too much weight, they can have trouble focusing or even experience organ damage. Most drivers are encouraged to drink plenty of water after a race and can be seen enthusiastically rehydrating after an F1 Grand Prix.
In extreme cases, they may have to visit the medical center for IVs or more intensive care to get themselves adequately hydrated. Usually, this is the case during hotter races, but this can still happen during any year’s race.
Conclusion: Why Do F1 Drivers Get Weighed After Races?
Weighing an F1 driver after a race is essential to the driver’s safety. A driver can lose over eight pounds of water during a two-hour race. Post-race weigh-ins help F1 teams calculate the number of fluids and food drivers need to recoup that weight loss healthily.
Regularly weighing drivers before and after their races can also help F1 teams prepare for future car modifications. If, for instance, a driver loses 8 pounds on average during a race, teams can build that into their plan for any improvements they need to make to the race car.
Next time you watch a race, pay attention to the procedures world champion drivers like Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton or Red Bull’s Max Verstappen follow after the race. You’ll see just how vital these measurements are each weekend.